Publication Date: August 15, 2015
Wordsy Woman Press
eBook & Paperback; 242 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Taming the Twisted is written in a similar style to Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books though updated for modern times. It might read as if she’d left in all of the juicy tidbits about things people didn’t talk about during the time when she was writing. Taming the Twisted is a story of destruction, romance, mystery, and deceit set against a back drop of an actual historical event.
In early June, 1860, Abigail enjoyed a peaceful home life with her parents, younger sister, and twin toddler brothers. Their home in Camanche, Iowa, where they’d emigrated from Pennsylvania, was almost complete and her beau, Joseph Sund, had recently proposed marriage.
That changes the evening of June 3rd when a tornado rips through town, killing her parents. At the mass funeral for the over two dozen people who perished in the storm, she learns Marty Cranson, with whom Abigail witnessed Joseph having a heated argument, died, but at the hands of a person rather than the tornado.
In addition to being faced with raising her young siblings, Joseph has disappeared without a trace and a stranger, Marshall Stevenson, appears, offering to help Abigail repair the families’ home and cultivate the newly planted farm crops.
Abigail, while developing romantic feelings for Marshall, tolerating the scorn of town woman Pamela Mackenrow, and working as a seamstress and storekeeper to support her siblings, becomes obsessed with finding out who killed Marty, hoping that and not that he no longer loved her, was the reason Joseph left without saying goodbye.
Jodie Toohey is the author of four additional books, two poetry collections – Crush and Other Love Poems for Girls (2008) and Other Side of Crazy (918studio, 2013) – as well as two novels, Missing Emily: Croatian Life Letters (2012) and Melody Madson – May It Please the Court? (2014).
When Jodie is not writing poetry or fiction, she is helping authors, soon-to-be-authors, and want-to-be authors from pre-idea to reader through her company, Wordsy Woman Author Services.
Having always been a fan of the Little House on the Prairie series, I was curious to read a novel by an author that stated her book emulated the style of the great Laura Ingalls Wilder. Upon beginning Miss Toohey’s book, I was drawn in by the easy prose, however, I do think it is a stretch to compare it to Wilder’s novels. It certainly takes place during the same time period though, in an environment fraught with peril and uncertainty. The characters were relatable, and their tragedies palatable. It was a tale told many times of a scorned woman finding a new love in an unlikely and unexpected place.
While starting out very strong, however, the ending felt very rushed, wrapping up all loose ends abruptly. I would have liked to see more development of the storyline in regards to Marty and Joseph, as well as Pamela Mackenrow. There was a great deal of potential for the town to take sides in the situation between Marshall and Abigail, but the townspeople paid little mind to Pamela’s scorns, which seemed highly unrealistic for a pioneer community.
Overall, I have had mixed feelings about this novel, and really contemplated what to put in my review, concluding with Taming the Twisted starts strong, and falls short. These are my personal tastes, however, and another reader might truly appreciate the simplicity of this feel good novel. As a self-published author, I do understand it is difficult to put your work out there for public consumption and criticism, and I hope Miss Toohey finds no offense or malice in my review. I wish her the very best of luck in all her endeavors. Three and a half stars.
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Tuesday, February 9
Guest Post at Just One More Chapter
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Review at Book Nerd
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Review at Eclectic Ramblings of Author Heather Osborne
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Review at Book Drunkard
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Review at Griperang’s Bookmarks
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Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Friday, February 19
Interview at Author Dianne Ascroft’s Blog